City Zen

Sometime back, in a post, I quoted Paul Theroux “My own feeling is that city dwellers invent the cities they dwell in. The great cities are just too big to be comprehended as a whole, so they are invisible, or imaginary, existing mainly in the mind.” 

The other day, during a cleaning exercise, I came upon an ‘old’ Bangalore map we had taped together from printouts. (I remember the site had separate maps for north, south, east and west :) ) Back in 2003 and thereabouts, this used to be our reference when we had to travel to places unknown. Unknown at that point included Malleswaram, Cantonment, Jayanagar and such. :) The city that we had created in our mind included Koramangala, Indiranagar and MG Road. Yes, just about that much. :) But the outdoor media selection that my brand job entailed ensured that I soon became familiar with many parts of Bangalore. In an earlier job, my office was at VV Puram and those not familiar with the place would say that it was far. Actually, my travel time from Koramangala was quite less.

A few weeks back, we decided to check out Haralur Road as part of the Realty Check endeavour. Despite the advanced features of Google Maps, and its time estimates, we thought it would take a while to get there from Koramangala. Not only did it turn to be near, we got back much earlier than expected. I’m sure the area will be unrecognisable 5 years down the line. Just like say, HSR has evolved. :)

As Bangalore creates its own little self sustaining bubbles, it’s not just the city that will be created in the mind, it’s probably the distances too.

until next time, cityscape

Talk of the Town

A while back I’d read about Burrp, which started out as a great restaurant reviews site, expanding into lifestyle events – Art, Dance, Fashion, Film, Fairs & Festivals, Theater, and so on. Check out the entire bunch here. They’d also added TV listings. While it’s quite a diversification, I thought it was quite in sync with what they were doing so far, but it also means that it broadens their competition

Among the bunch in the link mentioned, I thought Yulop was a great package, with their services spread across web and mobile. Meanwhile, I’ve been coming across a lot of websites appearing in the restaurant based services space – Grubhogs , which has reviews, and already shows the beginning of an event calendar, and A Place to Dine, which, in addition to listings, also allows for online orders and table reservations, and services for restaurant owners from website setting up and hosting to loyalty programs. It even has mobile versions. A very interesting path.

I guess these new services ‘justify’ Burrp’s move into the events space, an expansion of the value proposition. I found some interesting associations here. Burrp has tie ups with Mirror (The Times Group) websites- Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. I also read today that Buzzintown has tied up with MyToday SMS services, to provide its users events related information on the mobile, in three cities. 

There are some very cool happening in the events space. Buzzd , a service in the US allows the user to find and share local events on the mobile. They have recently tied up with Virgin to provide data to the operator’s subscribers. I’m not sure on how the numbers are for city based searches on mobile, but I wonder if Yulop, with all their services and info, could benefit by tying up with an Airtel/ Vodafone. While on local events, Placecast, which describes itself as  “the world’s largest place-based interactive media company” has tied up with Eventful to produce some interesting location based advertising options. (via Mashable

With the increasing usage of social networks, even events are finding their own long tails. So there are services which offer event planning for smaller groups. And while there are several event planning services available (including an Indian one called Funpiper), Doodle scores by having a facebook application that lets users collaborate on events. It also sends emails to non-Facebook users. Another service that stands out is Zipiko, which offers event planning on mobile.(via Center Networks)

But before we get there, I think there’s a lot of scope for city based social networks, especially the mobile version. I came across an interesting net based service – Fwix, which, in addition to the usual stuff, and integration with Twitter, Yelp, Flickr etc, shows you “the most relevant and trendy information and media in your local area. It aggregates about 500,000 news stories per day, and delivers roughly 2,000 relevant news stories of those 500,000.” (via Startup Meme). But i guess, that will take us back to this earlier post of mine.

until next time, text and the city